Nigeria: Police in Maiduguri recently arrested 92 suspected members of Boko Haram.
Sudan: President Omar al Bashir on the Jan. 9 referendum:
“The referendum process shall go on with God’s blessings, with the trust of our commitment that we will renew at this moment,” al-Bashir said, “and accepting the result that will come from the desire of the citizens and their choices.”
Al-Bashir made the comments in a speech Friday marking Sudan’s 55th Independence Day. He also promised to negotiate what comes after the referendum.
“Our acceptance of the final results will not be withdrawn or hesitated about,” he said, “because the peace is our ultimate goal in our relationships with our southern brothers, even if they choose a path other than unity.”
AQIM: NPR reports from Agadez, Niger on AQIM and kidnappings.
South Africa joins the BRICs.
Cote d’Ivoire: VOA:
Political stalemate continues in Ivory Coast, where the two rival presidents are each ignoring deadlines set by the other side to step down.
A youth leader for incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo has given rival president Alassane Ouattara until Saturday to leave Abidjan, and called for Gbagbo’s supporters to seize the hotel where Mr. Ouattara has been holed up for weeks.
However, the Associated Press reports that no Gbagbo supporters had shown up at the hotel by mid-day, and that Mr. Ouattara remained on the premises.
From the blogs:
Loomnie flags the start of an interesting new blog series on urban Africa.
Andrew Harding visits a sangoma diviner in Soweto and asks what will happen in 2011.
And finally, here’s an interesting take on Wikileaks from Joshua Kucera. I recommend the whole thing, but here’s the climax:
Why can’t the Americans just sit down with the Kazakhs and say, “OK, you’re crude and corrupt, and we’re oafish neoimperialists. But you have things we want, and we have things you want. So let’s do business.” Why wouldn’t that work?
My theory: It would work fine with the Kazakhs, but it’s the American people who would flinch at it. Perhaps not so much at frank talk about Kazakhstan, but about other, more high-profile countries with which the United States does business despite their dubious ethics — China or Saudi Arabia, for example. Americans like to believe in American exceptionalism, that the United States is a force for good around the world, not just another country pursuing its interests via geopolitical horse-trading. This is part of why there is such a visceral public backlash against WikiLeaks — because it lays bare U.S. diplomacy in all its blunt, unromantic reality.
Europeans are more comfortable with political reality, which is why their diplomats can speak more freely. Their U.S. counterparts, though, know this is distasteful to the people they represent, so they are more circumspect when they talk. With 99.9 percent of the WikiLeaks cables still yet to drop, the American people are going to learn a lot more about how their Foreign Service works. And if that means they can all start talking about their foreign policy like adults, that’s a good thing.
Consider this thread open.